Middlesbrough’s Marcus Tavernier is reportedly on the radar of Leeds United heading into the January transfer window.
Leeds’ Director of Football, Victor Orta, is familiar with Tavernier from his time at the Riverside Stadium and, as per TEAMtalk, has positioned the Whites’ radar on the 22-year-old.
Whether Leeds act on their interest remains to be seen; it’s common knowledge that Orta keeps tabs on players across the globe, but that doesn’t always mean a transfer is on the horizon.
If it does, though, what kind of players are Leeds getting their hands on? What would he offer that’s different to what Marcelo Bielsa has on his books already?
We aim to break that down here:
Is it a good potential move?
A number of things would need to be weighed up here: the fee involved, what Tavernier would offer Leeds’ squad in terms of cover and whether or not he’s good enough for Premier League football.
You’d imagine that Tavernier’s contract, which runs until the summer of 2023, protects Boro from a cheap sale. However, given the Premier League money Leeds have floating around, if they want Tavernier that badly, they could afford him.
Tavernier is versatile, too, which would suit what Bielsa looks for in players.
The Leeds-born ace has played anywhere across the midfield and also in the wing-back positions. In many ways, he’s like Jamie Shackleton, albeit left-footed.
Importantly, he’s a good player as well. Tavernier has made 122 appearances for Middlesbrough under a number of different managers.
Would he start?
When everyone is fully fit at Leeds, he probably wouldn’t start.
Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo are Bielsa’s go-to wing-backs, with Stuart Dallas offering cover. In midfield, Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich and, again, Dallas, are all options for Bielsa.
The aforementioned Shackleton is another that’s firmly in the first-team picture.
However, Bielsa runs with a thin squad at Leeds and that’s been stretched this season already due to injuries. In fact, across three-and-a-half years, Bielsa has rarely been able to call on a fully fit group.
Naturally, then, Tavernier wouldn’t exactly be miles away from opportunities.
What does he offer?
We’ve already mentioned how versatile Tavernier is, which would be useful within Leeds’ thin squad, whilst at 22, there’s a lot of time on his side to develop.
Tavernier has other likeable traits like his dribbling, set-piece ability and willingness to work to win the ball back out of possession.
For now, he’s going to be working under a very good coach in Chris Wilder at Middlesbrough and it’s going to be interesting to see where the former Sheffield United boss utilises Tavernier within his system.
Wilder will make him a better player and bring his best attributes to the fore. Then, Leeds will have a better idea of what he could bring to the squad at Elland Road.
It’s well worth keeping tabs on, which is what Leeds have come to expect from Orta.